IOWA FALLS - With five minutes remaining in Iowa Central's Region XI quarterfinal game, head coach Dennis Pilcher thought his squad's season could be over.
The fifth-seeded Tritons (20-12 overall) dug deep, though, pulling out a 78-74 overtime victory to knock off fourth-seeded Ellsworth (21-10).
The Tritons will now square off with top-seed DMACC at Boone on Thursday. Action is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m.
"We got some buckets when we needed them,'' Pilcher said. "It was a great team effort.''
The Tritons were behind by 10 points with five mintues to go. Ellsworth missed its chances to salt the game away at the free throw line, and the Tritons began chipping away at the deficit.
"Justin Lawler played great in the second half,'' Pilcher said.
IOWA CENTRAL 78, ELLSWORTH 74 (OT)
Iowa Central - Winston Yergler 9, Jesse Jones 27, Ky Kramer 10, Javonte Young 4, Dylan Travis 10, Justin Lawler 18.
Ellsworth - Marquice Jones 6, Robert Lee 11, DaQuan Moore 9, Tonnie Collier 27, Darvell Brown 7, Kalund Brown 11, Iyad Assad 3.
Halftime score: Ellsworth led 35-26; End of regulation: 66-66.
The Tritons clawed back and went up with two seconds remaining. Ellsworth hit a bucket to send the game to overtime, though, tying the score at 66.
"We were able to get the first two baskets in overtime and go up four,'' Pilcher said. "We led the rest of the way.''
Sophomore Jesse Jones paced the Tritons with 27 points. Lawler added 18. Dylan Travis chipped in 10.
"(Winston) Yergler sparked us and we just kept plugging away,'' Pilcher siad. "We made some key shots and got some big stops.''
The Tritons trailed 35-26 at halftime, letting a three-point deficit balloon to nine late before the break.
"They hit a three, we threw the ball and they hit another three and all the sudden we're down nine,'' Pilcher said. "They kind of kicked the steam out of us, but we were able to respond to the adversity and pull through.''